That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Release date: January 1st, 1996
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.
My first Sarah Dessen book! I picked it up because all of my friends are big fans and have been pestering me for years to read one of her books. I finally gave in and picked up the shortest one I could find (it was one of my reads for the Bout of Books read-a-thon). The book was alright, just not what I was expecting.
Basically, NOTHING HAPPENS. How the book starts is basically how it ends. It’s 200 pages that go absolutely nowhere. I loved Dessen’s writing style and the idea behind the book was interesting enough, but it’s what I expect the start of a story to be like. The characters were introduced, the plot and family drama established and I was expecting something exciting to happen, life changing even but nope. The story and characters never really took off and the ending was anti-climatic.
I was expecting the main character, Haven, to have some life altering event or realization. However, the story is mainly about the planning for her sister Ashley’s wedding. You don’t really get to know Haven, just her thoughts or observations of those around her. She was quite one dimensional and overly concerned about her height and slightly obsessed with her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Frankly, I found the characters annoying or completely uninteresting.
I’ve been told this book isn’t a great representation of Dessen’s work. I can totally see why many people like her books. Her writing style and the easy flow made it a quick and easy read. I have no objections to that. It’s just the plot that nearly bored me to death. I may try another Dessen book in the future, but right now I’m not so sure. This one was really disappointing.